He’s one of the most famous celebrity stylists in Hollywood, but the fashion industry is buzzing with speculation about why Law Roach retired so suddenly and without any warning.
A self-described “image architect”, he dressed Zendaya among a plethora of celebrity clients that include Celine Dion, Kerry Washington and Keke Palmer, Roach credits his grandmother as his biggest fashion inspiration. “Being from the South Side of Chicago and going to church every Sunday, I always look at that as my first fashion show. And I always credit my grandmother as my biggest fashion inspiration,” he told Insider in an interview published in February 2023. “Clothes and fashion were always such important things to her—the process of dressing for that big show that happened every Sunday morning.”
He realized he wanted to be a stylist in 2009 when Kanye West walked into Roach’s vintage store and was photographed by paparazzi and from then on, Roach’s career exploded. In 2021, he dressed 10 celebrities for the Met Gala and was invited to be a permanent judge on HBO’s Legendary, a show that explored the world of ball culture, alongside Megan Thee Stallion, Keke Palmer, Leiomy Maldonado and Jameela Jamil. But his retirement announcement suggested there’s something controversial going on behind the scenes. Here’s what we know.
Why did Law Roach retire?
Why did Law Roach retire? It’s unclear but rumors are that it might have something to do with his most famous client, Zendaya. On March 14, 2023, Roach shared the shocking announcement on Instagram, writing in the caption: “My Cup is empty….. thank you to everyone who’ve supported me and my career over the years. Every person that trusted me with their image, I’m so grateful for you all. If this business was just about the clothes I would do it for the rest of my life but unfortunately it’s not! The politics , the lies and false narratives finally got me! You win … I’m out.”
From the comments section, it’s obvious this announcement sent shockwaves through the industry. “Law I won’t let you !!!! We don’t quit .. strived to hard,” wrote supermodel Naomi Campbell, while British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful assured Roach that he would “always have a home” at the magazine. He gave no other explanation but those within the industry suspect it’s indicative of a deeply felt dissatisfaction, a piece of which was seemingly captured in a viral video of Roach and Zendaya taking their seats at the Louis Vuitton A/W 2023 show the week prior.
Zendaya sat down with actor Emma Stone in the coveted front row as Roach walked behind. He appeared to be confused as to where his front-row seat was and Zendaya indicated he could sit—shock, horror—BEHIND her. Needless to say, he doesn’t look happy about it. After all, he’s the person responsible for transforming Zendaya into the fashion icon she’s known as today and he should be sitting in the front row.
TikTok user @imurgency posted about the ordeal, writing, “the louis vuitton team after realizing they might have just caused one of the most iconic celeb stylist to retire…” Another influencer, @5arahpop, made a video stating: “My brain immediately went to that clip of him arriving to the Louis Vuitton fashion show with Zendaya, and there wasn’t a seat for him in the front row. And he probably felt disrespected.”
Other rumors say Roach’s retirement is due to speculation Zendaya signed with Louis Vuitton as a brand ambassador after being with Valentino since 2020. Ambassadors, of course, are required to don the brand almost exclusively on red carpets and other events with looks approved by the marketing team; meaning there’s nothing for Roach to do for her as a stylist. A similar thing happened with Taylor-Joy when she signed with Dior, effectively leaving Roach out of work.
One Twitter user pointed out that: “To make Law Roach’s retirement about Zendaya is extremely weird. She has nothing to do with it. The fashion industry has not always treated Black stylists and creatives with the respect they deserve.” Another said: “Zendaya has always spoken highly about Law Roach! She has always cherished the work and achievements they’ve accomplished together. Blaming her for his retirement is so disrespectful.”
How did Law Roach respond to the rumors he’s feuding with Zendaya?
How did Law Roach respond to the rumors he’s feuding with Zendaya? In a series of tweets the day after his retirement announcement, Roach made sure everyone knew he and his most famous client were still on great terms. “So y’all really think I’m breaking up with Z….. we are forever!” he wrote. “She’s my little sister and it’s real love not the fake industry love.”
Roach’s impact on the fashion industry was recognized at the 2021 CFDA Awards. His client Zendaya was awarded the Council’s Fashion Icon Award and the first-ever Face of The Year title was presented to Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy, with whom Roach has also worked extensively. Roach told Vogue that Zendaya’s win was particularly meaningful. “It’s emotional because it takes me back to our earliest conversations,” he said. “She wanted to be a fashion star, and I wanted to be considered the best at what I do. Reaching this milestone together is humbling; it’s been such a journey, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”
In 2021 he was named The Hollywood Reporter‘s Most Powerful Stylist, telling the magazine that his relationship with Zendaya was like “brother and sister” and when he started working with her, it was hard to get luxury fashion houses to dress her because her biggest fan base was tweens who watched Disney shows. By the time Euphoria came out and designers were calling back, Roach was the one saying “no”. “[Outside of editorials] she’s never worn Gucci, she’s never worn Chanel. She’s never worn Dior. She’s never worn Saint Laurent,” he said of her carpet looks. “And she had never worn Valentino until she became the face of Valentino. So, it’s quite incredible that we can build that just using smaller and emergent brands and designers. I think it’s really beautiful.”
As for what’s next for Roach, the 2021 interview with Vogue gave some clues: “I want to build my own brand,” he says, “one that spans across fashion, food, and interiors,” he said. “Moving into a creative director role would be a natural transition too; I’ve dressed so many women of different ages and sizes that I understand what’s missing in the market and what women are in search of.” He continued: “I’d love to collaborate with Target or H&M. I’m in a niche where most of my work is with performers, but I’ve always dreamt of being in a position where I could create something beautiful that was affordable because everyone deserves to experience great style.”
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